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MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-Madison is on a health watch after multiple confirmed cases of the mumps virus surface on campus.
The last time the UW saw an outbreak of the virus was in 2006. There have been three reported cases in the last two weeks.
Students say it's easy to forget about taking certain health precautions with the busy schedules they keep throughout the semester.
"A lot of people are low on sleep, have low immune systems, going out at all hours of the night, working on Econ on a Friday night. So that's why you really have to be mindful of things like this," said Brenden Palormo, a UW sophomore.
The virus is highly contagious and can be spread through the air or from saliva. Early symptoms usually begin 1 to 18 days after infection and look a lot like the flu.
Although there have only been three cases of the virus confirmed on campus, Craig Roberts from the Universities Health Service said those numbers still raise concerns.
"That is an unusual number for us," Roberts said. "We have not actually seen a confirmed case of mumps here in several years. Having two or three cases certainly raises the alarm that something is going on."
The university encourages students to get vaccinated. It takes two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to be fully immunized and doctors warn that just because a childhood vaccination does not mean your exempt from contracting the virus.
"Generally what is happening with the vaccine for whatever reason, in their case, it is not working as well," Roberts said.
All three cases so far have involved students who were vaccinated as children. Roberts said students who contract the virus should make a complete recovery within 10 days.Saturday, April 5 2014, 02:41 PM CDT
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